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Ben's in physical therapy (gross motor skills). I think everyone knows that. Right? If not, ask me about it. No biggie. We've been waiting on an evaluation for occupational therapy as well (fine motor and sensory skills).
Today, after tons and tons and tons of evaluation paperwork/questionaires over the past month, he had an in-person evaluation for occupational therapy, and we also talked for over an hour to an educational psychologist in Denver by conference call. Wow! Where do I even begin?! Forgive me if this seems chopped up. I'm going by my notes.
We are the proud parents of an extremely asynchronus (duh ), visual-spatial learner ( had no idea!) with a sensory processing disorder (figured that) and probably a touch of both dyslexia and eye tracking issues (yikes!?! ... to be tested later). Which, in a nutshell, means he's extremely smart, but also very hard to teach. There are very few curriculum choices that cater to visual-spatial learners, and he's unable to function in most classroom environments. No wonder I've had such a nightmare finding math that works for him, and no wonder preschool was a nightmare!
He has sensory defensiveness (an anxiety disorder), meaning, he gets more sensory information in than he can put out, so he freaks out, especially if the stimulus is from sound or light. If something unexpected happens, no matter how minor, he seriously freaks out. Crazy. The therapist is mostly going to be working on his fine motor skills, but she's also going to try to address this. In the mean time, we got several book recommendations, so I ordered 3 of those tonight.
As for his hands, he has poor coordination and dexterity, and he has very little strength, so writing and such will be a challenge for quite some time. That'll be the main focus of his OT work. At least my "choice" to homeschool was verified today by two experts who say he wouldn't do well in a classroom. That helps my defense when dh wants him in a class.
Ben's reading was assessed last week, but his math hasn't been yet. That's next on the list (probably either May or the end of summer). We'd planned on having him take the WPPSI and SB-5 in September to get a better grasp on what he does/doesn't know and how better to approach his learning, but the psychologist said he needs to wait another year. We never really know "which Ben" will get out of bed in the morning ... the one who's an eager sponge and very compliant, or the one who has a meltdown because the clocks aren't sync'd or the water's running too loud in the sink. Those tests would cost about $1100, so it's best to wait until we're sure he can handle being in a room with a strange person and strange set of stimuli for several hours at a time.
For now, at least as far as math goes, we were told to try having him learn addition/subtraction (even negatives) using two rulers placed end to end (where the 0's meet). Apparently, it's very common for V/S learners to learn mult/div before add/sub ... which is what he's been doing. He's pretty good with fractions as well. He just has a hard time with add/sub fact families. We were also told he might do well with an abacus, which is something I'd already considered using. We'll see! She said to continue letting him learn at his own pace, even if it means he masters mult/div before add/sub. Sometimes moving on to higher level math makes the lower level stuff click.
Wow! That's a lot to take in. Hard to teach? But it seems outside of the math "issues", you've been doing a great job with Ben. And now with this additional insight, Ben will be learning by leaps and bounds.
Although it may feel daunting, it's great that you've found out all this about him now!
Have you considered a hands on math curriculum? Something like Math-U-See or Montessori? When I just now read about visual-spatial learners, it sounded like myself. I loath memorizing, but I thrived doing math in the Montessori elementary school I went to. I'm planning on doing Montessori math with my kids, so I've been reading a lot on it, if you want any input for where to look.
Mama to an elementary school boy, kindergarten girl, and my miracle toddler girl.
Three 10w losses (11/2010 + 8/2011 + 10/2014)